ArtsEd Plans for Major Expansion To Come Before Planning Committee

Design includes new studio theatre and rooftop dance studios


Artist's impression of new building from Bath Road

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Plans by the Arts Educational School on Bath Road for a major upgrade and expansion will come before Hounslow Council's Planning Committee Thursday (14 June).

The project, which would provide an extra 3,000 square feet for the school, is being considered by the Committee because it is regarded as a major scheme of significant public interest.

A planning official report recommends approval stating, "Although the proposal would result in a less neighbourly relationship between the site and neighbouring residential properties, it is considered that the appropriate mitigation measures and the significant public benefits of an expanded school would outweigh this harm. The
proposal would not result in any severe harm to the local road network."

The application is recommended for approval subject to conditions.

The school is planning a three-phase development which would see new classrooms and performing arts studios built on the unused courtyard space at the rear of the current site, a new elliptical studio theatre at the eastern end and new dance and acting rooftop studios on the Bath Road building.

The first two phases would include a new build substation to be located on Bath Road; new purpose-built classrooms and performing arts studios in the rear zone of the site; creation of
a new build studio theatre to world class standards. A New entrance canopy to the building and amended internal layout of foyer is also planned.

Phase 3 works would involve the removal of the existing pitched roof to the main building and the addition of a new floor with additional dance and acting studios.

Ninety-eight neighbouring residents and business and the Bedford Park Society were notified about the plans, and twelve responses were received, of which one was in favour of the scheme and eleven against. Those who objected expressed worries about structural concerns in relation to neighbouring properties or reduction in the levels of privacy or light. One objector said the proposed materials were out of keeping with the surrounding area while another said it would harm the character of the Conservation Area.

The Bedford Park Society broadly welcome the proposal as making a positive contribution to the
Conservation Area both architecturally and socially. However it did express some concerns about certain aspects of design such as the Entrance canopy.

ArtsEd believe it could create an arts building which will be widely acclaimed and offer an enhancement to Bedford Park. The architects for the project are De Matos Ryan.

ArtsEd London, which is supported by famous names from the world of theatre and music including Sir Trevor Nunn and Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber, and whose alumni includes Julie Andrews and Nigel Havers, opened a modern theatre on the premises a few years ago and the circular 'drum' design may be an integral focus for the refurbishment which will also include an upgrade for the central lobby, and a cafeteria.

ArtsEd originated from two schools, one founded in 1919 by Grace Cone and one in 1922 by Olive Ripman. The school has been on its current site since 1985.

June 13, 2018

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